Review: New Toyota Innova
Innova gets a mid-life refresh. But is the upgrade more than skin deep?
Toyota takes their people moving business rather seriously. And we’re not talking about simply transporting people from point A to point B. We’re talking about ferrying them in comfort. Toyota Innova has been on the forefront in accomplishing this task from the day they launched the Innova in India, a few years ago. In fact, it has practically been the undisputed leader of people movers.
But since its launch, not much has changed on the Innova. Sure, there have been a couple of aesthetic changes routinely, but nothing too significant on the mechanical side. It's besides the point that with every update, Toyota has been calling it an 'all new’ Innova. This time, we check if it lives up to that claim.
With this iteration, Toyota has tweaked the grille to make it bigger and more profound. It goes lower into the bumper and has three horizontal slats finished in chrome that are more spaced out than before. The front bumper too goes under the knife to get a redesign which houses the fog lamps with chrome surrounds. The hood gets sharper creases to make the styling more modern.
At the rear too there’s been a generous splash of chrome – in the form of a plate running horizontally through the width of the boot. The tail lamps boast of a new design as well. But apart from that, there’s nothing much that has changed from its earlier avatar. Of course, there are new body decals on the side, but you get them only on the top-end variant.
The top-end variant we’re talking about here is also – 'all new'. It sits over the earlier VX and is christened as ‘Z’. It gets more goodies than any variant has ever received. What’s new here is the addition of two-tone leather seats and darker faux-wood finish on the dashboard and door panels. Like the earlier top-end variant, it gets a media system with USB and aux inputs and steering-mounted controls, reverse camera, and auto climate control in the creature comfort list. The feature list for the rest of the trims remains more or less similar to the earlier versions.
Mechanically, Toyota has not bothered fiddling with what was already good. It has the same 2.5-litre diesel engine, good for 101bhp and 200Nm. It puts out power in a linear manner and controls the turbo lag well. The only drawback of this motor is that it’s on the noisier side and that noise creeps in to the cabin when the revs are piled on.
The motor is mated to the same five-speed gearbox. The shifts are decently smooth but the throws are long. The ratios are on the shorter side despite it being a MPV that’ll spend most of its time on the highway. That in turn affects the kpl figures. Our run on the Innova, the on-board computer showed a mileage of 9.3kpl with both highway and city driving (thorough TopGear road test pending).
The Innova is the best seven-seater with its handling characteristics. It’s almost car-like and boasts a sorted ride quality. Again, it’s the best people mover when it comes to controlling its weight in India. Not much body roll and not too much of vertical pitch.
Toyota has not revealed the prices of the ‘all new’ Innova, but we expect the top-end Z variant to priced Rs 35,000-40,000 more than the earlier top-end. The price for the other variants will see a marginal increase.
This is more of an upgrade than a full-fledged new model. But despite that, the Innova remains to be the most comfortable people mover of the country – even though it’s not the most spacious one.
4 cylinder, 2494cc, 101bhp, 200Nm, turbo diesel, 5M, RWD, kerb weight: 1,585kg, Rs 14.8 lakh (estimated, ex-showroom, Delhi)
Continues to be the most comfy MPV in the country. The facelift keeps the styling fresh.